Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Extend hand to the Iranian people, not the regime, says Paris mayor

A senior French political figure gave his support to the Iranian people on the eve of mass protest rallies planned in Tehran.

Bertrand Delanoë, the popular mayor of Paris and a prominent Socialist leader, wrote on his personal blog today that the West's policy of extending a friendly hand must be directed at the Iranian nation, rather than the Islamic regime.

Delanoë had already publicly supported the Iranian protest movement in a piece posted early last month. 'What is at stake is considerable,' he wrote. 'It is nothing less than a certain understanding of Man and the universality of his rights.[...] Today, I want to express my admiration to these unarmed crowds and my solidarity to this great and proud people, to the Iran of liberty.'

Delanoë's new post comes a day before protesters are expected to rally on the streets of Iran, particularly Tehran, to voice their opposition on the occasion of the regime's official celebrations of the 31st anniversary of the 1979 revolution. But it also coincides with the regime's increasing intransigence on the nuclear issue

Delanoë believes that the policy of the 'extended hand' to resolve differences with the Islamic Republic has failed. 'When the response to the extended hand is provocation, it is up to the democracies to show that they can bring the values of law to bear upon the blackmail of brutality.'

Delanoë sees a clear link between the regime's bluster on the international stage and its teetering position at home.

'It appears that the Iranian president and his masters speak all the tougher abroad as they detect their own precariousness within the country,' the Paris mayor wrote today. 'And since we are on the topic of extending hands, we free peoples would be well-advised to extend our hands to a nation that is fighting for its dignity, to these hundreds of thousands of Iranians, who in spite of the risks, take daily to the streets of Tehran, Isfahan, Ghom, and Tabriz.'

'Iranians are set to meet on the streets of their cities on February 11 to say no to oppression and to brandish the banner of the future,' Delanoë concluded. 'Once again I would like to express my solidarity and friendship to them.'

For those who are interested: I'll be live-blogging on 22 Bahman, February 11, 2010, from 6:30 AM GMT.

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